Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

10 things I wish I’d known 10 years ago: a letter to my 30 year old writer self

Share |

Dear 30 Year-Old Farzana,

1. You’ve got to get connected, girl! I know you feel intimidated at literary events because you think you don’t fit in. Put on a nice dress, a smile, and have a glass of Merlot. No, wait. I think you're supposed to wear skinny jeans. Buy skinny jeans.

2. Talk to people at those stuffy events! They might be just as insecure as you. Volunteer. Step up to the open mic. Be a part of the community.

3. Rejection is a badge of honour. Really. Submit your work. Submit it again. Know that your work matters. You can cry into your Merlot later.

4. Critical feedback is a good thing, even if you take it too personally. Stop taking it personally. Show your work to your friends at least. No, your girlfriend and writing coach don’t count.

5. Get on social media. Facebook friend other writers. Repost their announcements. Figure out Twitter and do the same. (OK, some of this didn’t exist 10 years ago).

6. You need an online platform. Find out what the heck that means. The coolest writers have one and in 7 years publishers will expect it. A website at least. And a blog. Pace yourself.

7. Take a chance and ask new writer friends to refer you to their publisher or agent. If they say no, try not to de-friend them on Facebook.

8. Apply for writing grants. Hey, you never know!

9. It doesn’t matter that you have a full-time job that is sucking the life out of you. Write a little bit every day.

10. Quit that job and find another way. Yeah, it goes against all your child-of-immigrant teachings, but you’ll be fine.

40 Year-Old Farzana


Thanks wubzzy!

LOl, hilarious, very well written...

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Related item from our archives

Farzana Doctor

Farzana Doctor is a Toronto-based author and the recipient of the Writers' Trust of Canada's Dayne Ogilvie Grant for an emerging gay Canadian author (2011). Her first novel, Stealing Nasreen, received critical acclaim and earned a devoted readership upon its release in 2007. She is currently touring her second book, Six Metres of Pavement (Dundurn 2011).

Go to Farzana Doctor’s Author Page